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The short-lived crime series Griff starring Lorne Greene
raysond from Chapel Hill, North Carolina
15 May 2009
"Griff" was one of the many underrated or "lost" cop shows of the early
1970's. The series starred Lorne Greene(who came to star in this series
just nine months after the expiration of his nearly 14-year run as
Ponderosa Ranch patriarch Ben Cartwright on the NBC-TV television
series "Bonanza" which ran from September 12,1959 until January
14,1973,producing 451 episodes all in color)as Wade "Griff" Griffin,a
former police officer who becomes a private detective. Greene traded in
his western wear for a P.I. stint in this short-lived series from the
His partner in solving mysteries and cases was S. Michael "Mike"
Murdock(portrayed by Ben Murphy of "Alias Smith and Jones" fame).
Veteran actor Vic Tayback(who later on was the fictitious operator of
Mel's Diner on the CBS-TV sitcom "Alice"),was Captain Barney Marcus of
the Los Angeles Police Department,which was Griff's continuing contact
with the police. Patricia Stich appeared as Gracie Newcombe,the
secretary for the two detectives.
Created by Larry Cohen,this was a short-lived series that ran on ABC-TV
from September 29,1973 until January 5, 1974. Only 13 episodes were
produced and was filmed by Groverton Productions in association with
Universal Television. The series was followed by the ABC Suspense Movie
which was at the 10PM timeslot on Saturday nights opposite the
powerhouse variety series "The Carol Burnett Show",which was a huge
ratings winner for CBS,and the "NBC Saturday Night At The Movies". Its
a crying shame that this series isn't seen anywhere these days,but it
would be great if this series was seen again. In all 13 episodes.
Interesting note about this show: One of the executive producers was
Steven Bochco(of "Hill Street Blues",and also "N.Y.P.D. Blue"). The
other three executive producers were Robert F. O'Neill and David
Victor(of "Owen Marshall:Counselor at Law",and "Marcus Welby,MD"
fame),along with Peter S. Fischer. The guest star roster includes
Christopher Connelly,Ben Piazza,Sal Mineo,Ricardo Montalban,Harold J.
Stone,Michael Callan and Pamela Hensley,Kim Hunter and William
Windom(who appeared in three episodes of this series).
Check out the some of the best episodes: "The Case of the Baltimore
Girls":the two-hour pilot episode,which a two-parter condensed to an
hour under the title "All The Lonely People" which features Kim
Hunter,Patricia Crowley,Lawrence Pressman,Dabney Coleman,William Windom
and Herbert Rudley. Griff and his partner investigate clients of a
dating service who face extortion or even murder.
"The Framing of Billy The Kid":guest starring Nick Nolte as a
professional football player accused of murder. Also starring Susan
"The Last Ballad":Griff investigates a death of a rock singer after she
undergoes an abortion when the provider(Kim Hunter),is held by the
police. William Windom also guest stars. This episode was aired not
long after the United States Supreme Court legalized abortion in its
companion "Roe v. Wade" and "Doe v. Bolton" opinions. Very much one of
the more controversial episodes of the series.
"Prey":Sal Mineo plays a Middle Eastern president whom Griff and Mike
must protect from an assassination attempt. Scott Hylands portrays the
"Fugitive From Fear"(the series finale,and the last episode of the
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